Mikagura School Suite
by Paul Jensen,
As this season's episode count starts to dwindle, I'm beginning to appreciate Mikagura School Suite's ability to keep puttering along at its own pace. It hasn't quite run out of good ideas, nor is it desperately cramming forty minutes worth of plot into twenty. It just shows up, does a competent job, and calls it a day. Not the most ambitious approach to storytelling, but at least it's easy to watch.
While Eruna hasn't yet figured out what her club's going to do in the long term, she still manages to stay pretty busy this week. She and Otone manage to get their new room cleaned up just in time to welcome their friends from the other cultural clubs, most of whom arrive bringing truly useless gifts. The one person who isn't interested in celebrating is the newspaper club president, who demands that Eruna help investigate rumors of a ghost on campus. Chances to meet beautiful ghost girls don't come around every day, and Eruna is on the case faster than you can say “scooby snack.” With most of the cast occupied by the paranormal investigation, Otone pays a visit to Seisa's mansion. It doesn't take long for their conversation to escalate into a fight, and Eruna arrives on the scene just in time to keep things from getting lethal.
This episode is a tale of two storylines, with comedy and drama each given the freedom to work in isolation. The transitions between the two can be awkward, but the individual parts are all reasonably palatable. Bimii's elaborate transformation scene is a fantastic way to get things rolling on the comedy front, and the little cat door in his sarcophagus is truly inspired. Some of the club presidents' gifts are more amusing than others, but the scene is worth it for the cow drink dispenser alone.
The Ghost Hunt, on the other hand, gets off to a Slow Start. The show tries to draw humor out of having some characters be too scared to help, but the dropouts are too predictable to be funny. The sequence takes a welcome turn once the source of the rumors is discovered. Eruna clearly had to be involved somehow, but the image of her wandering the halls in a sleeping bag is a hoot. The storyline manages to finish strong by circling back around to Bimii's ability to transform into a human. Revisiting the opening joke helps bring a little cohesion to an episode that's otherwise all over the map.
The long-distance rivalry between Otone and Seisa was destined to blow up eventually, and it's easy to see how the fight will play out once it gets going. The good news is that the series avoids the temptation to wallow in angst and melodrama here. Otone vents her frustrations, but at least the screaming and crying are kept to a minimum. It feels like the show is eager to get this scene done as quickly and painlessly as possible so it can move on to something less serious. With everyone's grievances more or less aired, it should be a simple matter to have Eruna negotiate a truce between Seisa and Otone.
The first episode of Funimation's broadcast dub also came out this week, and I'm happy to report that it's a pretty good one. Jamie Marchi turns in a solid performance as Seisa, and Sonny Strait does a nice job of adapting Bimii's verbal quirks into English. Monica Rial captures Eruna's energy remarkably well, which is good news considering how much her character carries the show in its early episodes. A few of the supporting roles may take some getting used to, but performances are solid across the board and the script feels natural without straying too far from the original dialogue. Assuming this level of quality holds up from week to week, the dub looks like an appealing option for anyone who hates speed-reading subtitles during this show's rapid-fire conversations.
Like several other shows this season, Mikagura School Suite seems content to roll through its remaining episodes on cruise control. It's lost some of the insane energy that helped it stand out early on, but it's also managed to avoid any major pitfalls as it searches for an ending. Barring any unexpected disasters, it's on course for a safe and comfortable ending.
Mikagura School Suite is currently streaming on Funimation.
Paul Jensen is a freelance writer and editor. You can follow more of his anime-related ramblings on Twitter.
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